Sunday, August 23, 2009

New Spring Arrivals for Lady Frockers!

(NB: Little Frockers, watch this space (or get Mum to) - Munser, Missie Munster, Chilli Kids, Walnut, Baobab and Itch instore shortly!)

The last few weeks have been grey, dreary and rainy, but thankfully here at Frock HQ there are oodles of bright new Spring pieces to keep us from going nuts. Here's a few must-buys I thought I'd better alert you to before they sell out (Motel fans, take heed - many styles selling through at record rates despite being on the site less then a week!):

Sunny Girl Grey Boyfriend Blazer ($69.95): still a raging hot piece, the blazer is made lighter for spring, in a lovely shade of grey with a relaxed 'boyfriend' fit. Makes a pretty sundress that much more edgier (though grammatically dubious), or looks sexy and modern teamed with a tee and denim cutoffs. This version is a nice light linen and you can wear the sleeves cuffed to show off the cool stripey lining!

Living Doll V Neck Dress: this is a definite wardrobe staple - perfect for lazy summer days when it's too hot to care, for throwing over a bikini or accessorising with a belt/scarf/chunky bangles, it truly is an effortless piece that looks casual and chic at the same time. Plus it's only $34.95!

Motel Selina Dress ($110): I couldn't decide which Motel piece to put on here, as they are all really amazing this season, but I do like the bright blue skirt of the Selina dress (despite the name Selina making me think of the gummy Home & Away chick. Incidentally why is it called Home & Away? When are they ever 'Away'? Where are the scenes outside Summer Bay?) The jersey tank top and full skirt is flattering to pretty much everyone, unlike the skintight legging-jeans I saw a group of oversized bogan teenagers sporting in the local mall yesterday. OMG.

Two pieces from GRAB get a mention this week - the really really cool Ladder Detail Tank ($79.95), which has an edgy, rock chic style, and requires little else to make your outfit stand out, I'm thinking it's the perfect gigging top; and the chic Pointelle Wide Sleeve Knit ($89.95), which falls neatly into the 'dressy casual' category I like to pretend I invented to justify any expensive jeans that somehow end up in my wardrobe. Imagine this top with pale denim, a tan bag and heels - easy, simple and sophisticated.

A sweet little tee is a must for Spring, and French Kitty's Side Show Act Top ($49.95) has a cute bow at the neckline, giving it a nautical feel - but thankfully the pink and grey stripes make it more girly than yacht-y. Not that there's anything wrong with yacht-y, if it is even a word, but how many of us own a yacht on which to wear suitably nautical attire?

This week there'll be new arrivals from Blue Juice, Lucky 13 & Pink Stitch, so check the site daily and follow us on Twitter for instant updates! Plus, due to your overwhelming requests/demands, the Spring/Summer '09/10 catalogue is in the works, and should be available to view online mid-September. I'm wary of print versions as I am more than a bit anal about wasting paper and trees, but if we can find a decent printer we just might do a very limited print run...!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

When it's ok to giggle at Rachel Zoe

I'm having one of those sick-of-winter-clothes-not-warm-enough-for-spring end of season wardrobe crises. Correction, climate change is a crisis, me being sick of my endless supply of grey knitwear is not. End of season wardrobe case of the blerghs, perhaps. That was, until I found this pic on Rachel Zoe's website, and felt much better about myself:

I'm assuming this is a photo of The Zoe, because all the other photos are. Because the website is entitled Fashion and Style Tips by Rachel Zoe, one would assume it is indeed about Fashion and Style tips. She usually looks great, if not slightly the wrong shade of tan, but this pic stopped me in my cybertracks for all the wrong reasons. If I signed up for a styling session and this vision waltzed (or stomped) into the room, I'd gape, then giggle, then guffaw before I was ROFL, and unsuccessfully attempting an inconspicuous escape by continuing to roll towards the door. Then I'd RUN. And find myself a sensible oversized floppy leopard print hat* to hide under.
*Actually the hat is the best part of the outfit.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Mother Nature, Bare Faced

Today was one of those wonderfully rainy wintery days where you just want to stay inside and make popcorn and watch movies in your fav hoodie and oldest jeans. Well that's what I wanted to do, so I did. It was so relaxing, I didn't even bother with makeup today. I know what you're thinking: Anarchist! But seriously, I rarely go out without at least a swipe of foundation and freshly applied lipgloss - not a pancake face which take shours to apply, just a little something that is probably not noticeable to anyone but me. I feel self conscious otherwise.

Anyway, late this afternoon the rain cleared and the sky turned a lighter shade of grey, so we thought we'd head to the Gorge to see the results of Mother Nature's furious downpour. For those of you not familiar with the Apple Isle, for one thing yes it is part of Australia and yes Australia Post do deliver here; and for another the Gorge is the most awesome local swimming place. It's totally free (except the carpark, but nobody pays for that anyway apart from tourists), 10 mins walk from the CBD, and honestly a spectacular setting for whiling away long summer days. In winter it's still amazing to look at but the main activity is watching the rapids. Lately it's been bucketing down, and the river flowing through the Gorge has flooded in a spectacular way, creating oodles of frothy rapids and rising to such a point that half the city turned out this afternoon to look at the after effects of the weekend's rain. And, as always happens when you're out in your daggiest clothes and bare faced, you run into loads of people you know *cringe*.
This is what the Gorge usually looks like:

The bridge in the background swings quite scarily, making it fun to jump on, there are two safe pools there in the middle, though they must've photoshopped out the teens who usually swim under the bridge and jump off the rocks depsite the warning signs; and in the right front corner you can just see a swing, which is a neat little playground. There's also a good cafe, gift shop, takeaway stand, restaurant, chair lift, peacocks who occassionally go wandering in the suburbs and lots of wallaby poo. But before this turns into an ad for Tourism Tas, here's what it looked like this afternoon:

The pics don't really do it justice. Yesterday the flooding completely covered the playground, and today there were big bits of driftwood lodged at the back. It's really very awesome, and the raw power of it quite chilling. Despite my reservations about uneven skin tone and mascara-less lashes, I'm pretty sure Mother Nature's bare face got far more amazed stares than mine garnered. At least I hope so, or I really need a new skincare regime.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Weekend Baking: Berry & Apple Tray Bake

Mmm, trays. No, seriously, I tried this scrummy concotion last weekend and it's totally worth the calories. I don't quite get the point of a 'July Picnic' but I do get the point of a warm, filling dessert with lashings of custard or a fresh dollop of cream on a cold wintery evening. It takes a while to make, but if it's a rainy, grey old day, a good baking sesh is more productive than, say, buying shoes online. Ahem. Anyway, courtesy of that wikipedia of recipes, Taste, here is delicious magazine's Berry & Apple Tray Bake:

Ingredients (serves 6)
300ml thickened cream, plus extra to serve
175g unsalted butter, chopped
3 eggs
2 cups (300g) plain flour
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, thinly sliced, tossed with 2 tbs lemon juice
300g frozen mixed berries, thawed
Icing sugar, to dust
Blackberry or strawberry jam, to serve

Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease and flour a 32 x 22cm baking dish. Bring cream and butter to just below boiling point in a pan over medium heat. Cool slightly.
Using electric beaters, beat eggs with sugar until thick and pale. Slowly beat in cream mixture. Sift in fl our, then fold to combine with a metal spoon. Stir in vanilla, apples and berries, then pour into pan. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and a skewer inserted in centre comes out clean. Take to picnic in pan, then serve with icing sugar, jam and extra cream.

Your hips won't thank you, but your lips sure will. Delicious, indeed!

Friday, August 14, 2009

Need a Book Recc?

Short and sweet this morning:

Here's another nifty and mildly addictive site for bookworms of the lazy variety: type in the book you just read, and The Book Seer will recommend some new titles for you! It's cool because hopefully you'll stumble upon an unknown gem, and also because a guy with a beard and a cartoon speech bubble gives you reccs.

Suggestions come from Amazon and Book Army, and it may be wise to to a hard refresh (gotta love computer speak, 'hard refresh' sounds so....not refreshing) because I keep getting similar suggestions depsite entering completely different books. Unless, it intuituvely knows me so well it knows that this list are the books I must read and will enjoy. Scary. Yet fascinating!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Etsy Love: Free Range Baby

While trawling through my daily blog reading, I came across a gorgeous Etsy store, based in NZ, Free Range Baby. As I am chronically awful at craft, cute little hand made pieces like this inspire not only admiration but lots and lots of 'aaaw'. Free Range Baby use fabrics that are vintage, reclaimed, or recycled, making each piece unique and that extra bit special. And, um HOW CUTE IS THIS!:

Yep, it's got an owl in the pocket. And this jacket has a hippo on it.

There's no point being half-hearted about colour, so if you're going to go for this swirly and spotty little number with a pretty bow, match it with bold tights and brighten up everyone's day...

But my fave has to be this simple, classic pinny. Sweet and totally adorable, it's quite a steal for US$40 (about $48 Aussie dollars at the moment)!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Why I'm not working for the rest of the week:

All I'm going to say is that this book arrived today from Fishpond so I'm not going to work tomorrow:

Sigh. I actually really just like the cover, and the bold black and white spine looks awesome on my Fantastic bookshelf. Joke, joke (partly) I'm hoping the content is as informative and inspirational as it looks.

Aside from Book Depository (where I recently bought Mary Queen of Scots for a bit of light reading, and pre ordered the new Phillipa Gregory, my guilty pleasure), Fishpond has been my most clicked on site lately. They have seriously everything there, and while the shipping is slow, it's ok, cos it's sorta a cyber version of a lazy afternoon browsing in a bookshop. And it means if you buy several items, you get staggered deliveries so stuff comes for days! Though earlier this week the postman left my new books in the recycling bin, which took the gloss off a little. Good old Aus Post!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Supermarket, thankfully not of the Coles variety

Being a mother and attempting to be a housewife means I spend more then my fair share of time trudging through the unflattering lighting and space age background noise environment that is Coles. But check this out: a Supermarket that is essentially the same as our beloved Etsy. Handmade, arty goodness without a Fly Buys card in sight.
I just spent more time looking through the kidswear, jewellery, prints and bags then I spend planning and executing a full-blown grocery shop. I'm loving the cards by Fold (US$11 each), the journals (US$18) from Andy Pratt and just about everything from Poketo, including this wicked monstery mug (US$14).

It doesn't come with a 'Warning: this is addictive and you now have no excuse to give a crap present. Ever", but it should. *Happy browsing sigh*

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

When Windex Goes Too Far

What with Masterchef inspiring us all to take up a pair of tongs and discover (or renew) a passion for cooking, and the current economic downturn meaning one has to find cheaper ways of entertaining oneself, all that is Homely is officially hip. I'm not sure who or what governs what is 'hip' exactly but I'm chuffed that crafting, cooking, reading and activities which neccessitate a pretty apron are no longer cringe-worthy.

I've bought more cookbooks in the last few months than in the last 20-odd years - indeed, MIL gave me a cookbook for my birthday which I was very happy with, depsite what she was possibly insinuating with the dedication "Dear Kat, there are lots of simple, easy recipes in here"...Frankie's Afternoon Tea got twenty of my dollars mainly because it looks so adorable and made doilies look cool; and I love the good old Women's Weekly Cookbooks which start at about $5 for the mini versions - they're chock full of homely, sensible and affordable dishes that you actually know are going to come out vaguely like the picture. And hands up who had a birthday cake from their Mum's AWW Birthday Cake Book? *entire gen Y raises hands*

Heck, even cleaning has become more bearable of late. When you live in a neighbourhood entirely built by Hotondo Homes, there is a certain image one feels one has to uphold. You can almost feel the housewives staring from behind their tinted long windows to make sure your washing isn't hanging out for too long that it becomes unsightly. Actually one of my favourite activities recently has been "let's leave the rubbish bins out ALL DAY and watch the neighbours get politely irritated!"

It is a less irritating activity then the people up the road who wash, polish and vaccuum both their cars EVERY SUNDAY without fail, and then clean the garage floor, lest it start to resemble, you know, a garage floor with marks on it. The people across the road sweep the footpath in front of their house after people walk past and routinely examine their driveway for marks. They don't put their cars in the garage if it's been raining, they wait for them to dry off and then put the cars in. YES I AM SERIOUS.

Anyway, the point of today's little rant is this: despite my lax (or as I prefer to call it, New Generation) attitude to cleaning, I do keep a bottle of Windex in the cupboard and use it occassionally to clean windows and mirrors and other assorted surfaces. (By the way, what does the 'dex' stand for?) I thought this was what it's purpose was. But today, while out on my afternoon walk, I did a double take at one DH's* spotless home - and not because of the reflection of myself in trackpants in her recently 'Dexed outer windows. No, she was Windexing her front steps. What the feck is wrong with a broom? I mean, she was polishing those babies with such vigour that I almost felt the need to take out a Classified ad warning Avon ladies around the city to aviod our suburb at all costs. And God help the Jehovahs.

Stay tuned for our next installment, where Wild Housewives of Suburbia find new and inventive ways to make the most of their Ajax...

*DH - intended to stand for Desperate Housewife, but there's no reason one couldn't presume DickHead. Or Dexhead.